‘Something Is Wrong:’ Elon Musk Takes Twitter Account Private to Test Reports of Poor Engagement

Elon Musk (Win McNamee/Getty Images; BNN)
Win McNamee/Getty Images; BNN

Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk has set his account on the platform to private to test claims by prominent conservatives that public accounts are having their engagement limited following changes to Twitter’s algorithm.

Yahoo News reports that Twitter owner Elon Musk made his account private to experiment with the engagement received by private accounts as opposed to public accounts. Prominent conservatives performing their own tests on Twitter have claimed that private accounts have significantly better reach than public ones, with views and interactions on tweets up to five times higher. Due to this, Musk modified the settings on his account so that only his 127.7 million followers could see it.

Elon Musk made his Twitter account private so that only his 127.7 million followers could view his tweets (Twitter/ screengrab)

The account settings were changed to confirm the theory advanced by Twitter users who had tested the feature. Twitter user Ian Miles Cheong noticed that his followers and notification recipients only started appearing after he made his account private. Compared to his public post, this received more likes and comments. Musk later responded to prominent conservative Libs of TikTok that “something is wrong,” prompting his own test.

When a Twitter account is set to private, only users following the account can view its tweets, and those tweets cannot be retweeted to reach a wider variety of users. In essence, accounts that have gone private to fight a big drop in engagement are trading their opportunity to reach those that don’t currently follow them in the hopes that more of their current followers will see and engage with their content.

Twitter unveiled a new Blue subscription service in November 2022 that enables users to purchase a blue tick for a set monthly fee. Users who upgrade to the premium version gain access to extra features like an edit button and greater visibility for their tweets. These adjustments, along with the mass layoff of the workforce, were made to improve Twitter’s profitability.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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